Enter the Teamgager: Feedback Your Team Will Love

If you are a business owner or manager, now is the time of the year when your family is dreaming of a white Christmas – and you are thinking about the annual performance reviews, just like the ones I used to know, and you already feel the heartburn setting in.

TL;DR: Teamgager is a free performance assessment tool that your team will love; and you will, too. 

According to research, well over 90% of employees, managers, and HR people agree that the APRs are not working.

The root cause of the prevailing APR process inefficiencies is that it was established 50 years ago, when lifetime employment was the preferred career path, and when one year sounded like a short-term planning horizon for business and personal development goals.

Not any longer. Enter the Teamgager – the one-minute-per-week feedback tool that works.

I am sharing this tool with my partners. It is Excel-based, cloud-hosted and therefore virtually free.

In addition to the key functionality – providing feedback on the employee performance, with the relevant “paper trail” for the HR – the Teamgager tool has the following killer features:

1. It is “on” throughout the year; therefore the performance reviews are not prone to recency bias; nothing is forgotten.

2. The feedback has a 360-degree assessment element, making it objective.

3. The feedback is 100% anonymous; i.e. the employee and the manager see the score, but they do not know who the source of the feedback is. Once the tool wins the team’s confidence, the feedback becomes genuinely free of political correctness, and brown-nosing.

4. Only positive feedback is collected: “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This excludes instances of frustration venting and “acts of vengeance,” and makes the performance appraisal future-oriented.

This principle “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” helps the team to always stay positive.

5. Although Teamgager collects only positive feedback, it gives a very true picture of who is worth what on the team. Busy beavers “killing themselves helping the company” often get a very poor score compared to those team members who actually deliver value. Likewise, politically savvy free riders soon consider leaving the team. Those are very motivating outcomes for the team.

Some team members may attempt to “game” the tool. No risk here, the attempt will be noticed by the tool administrator (a dedicated HR person or, better, an outside contractor) and the “gamer” will be advised accordingly. Rather, the team members are encouraged to experiment with the tool: gamification makes the work environment more attractive.

After a couple of weeks, once the Teamgager tool gains trust with the team, the employees and managers perceive it as fair. This is crucial for an effective performance review system.

Here’s how Teamgager works. The tool sends a weekly email to every employee and invites to name up to three best-performing teammates, one per category. In addition, there is an option to write a thank-you note to be included in the weekly team update. All actions are 100% anonymous, although one may deliberately sign the thank-you note.

The tool collects the feedback and generates a weekly summary with the snapshot of the team performance over the week and cumulative performance chart for the entire assessment period. Each employee knows his score but only the team lead knows the individual scores. The stats, together with the notes, are stored and can be presented as a report for any period of time and for any person.

The weekly summaries are a good communication tool and a starting point for weekly coaching conversations between the team members and the team lead. The rolled-up summary serves as the foundation for the regular performance reviews.

The team leader’s role remains instrumental in setting goals, directing the development and adjusting the objectives in real time. 

The scores generated by Teamgager can be used to calculate differentiated compensation (individual bonuses). The difference in bonuses may look shockingly large but will nevertheless be perceived as fair due to the impartial nature of the assessment tool.

Interested? A more detailed description of the tool is in the SlideShare here.

Feel free to contact me if you want to hear more.